Coasts and sea life dealing with main menace attributable to huge sand removing

That is equal to over a million dump vans every single day – inserting immense stress on marine biodiversity and the well-being of coastal communities.

Marine Sand Watch, a platform developed by UN Surroundings Programme (UNEP)’s analytical centre, GRID-Geneva, makes use of synthetic intelligence and automated alerts from ships to trace and monitor sand, clay, silt, gravel, and rock extraction on the earth’s marine environments.

It delivers essential data on sand extraction zones (sand concessions), capital and upkeep dredging websites, sand buying and selling hubs, vessel counts, and operators at sea.

Whereas the platform is a groundbreaking instrument, it at the moment can not detect artisanal and small-scale mining alongside shallow coastlines, regardless of its depth in some areas, in keeping with UNEP.

Sand, a strategic materials

“The size of environmental impacts of shallow sea mining actions and dredging is alarming, together with biodiversity, water turbidity, and noise impacts on marine mammals,” stated Pascal Peduzzi, Director of GRID-Geneva at UNEP.  

“This knowledge alerts the pressing want for higher administration of marine sand assets and to scale back the impacts of shallow sea mining,” he added.

The senior UN official referred to as on governments in addition to the dredging sector to deal with sand as a strategic materials, and swiftly interact in talks on the right way to enhance dredging requirements worldwide.

Alarming impacts

Between 4 and eight billion tons of sediment are dredged yearly from marine and coastal environments.

That is “perilously” near the pure replenishment price of 10 to 16 billion tons per yr essential to maintain coastal and marine ecosystems, in keeping with UNEP.  

Whereas shallow sea mining for sand and gravel is significant for numerous development initiatives, they pose a significant menace to coastal communities dealing with rising sea ranges and storms.

Sand extraction additionally endangers coastal and seabed ecosystems, impacting marine biodiversity, vitamins from the ocean and noise air pollution, in addition to impacting aquifer salinization and future tourism growth, UNEP added.


Worldwide practices and rules differ broadly, UNEP famous, with nations equivalent to Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia having banned marine sand exports within the final 20 years, whereas others lack any laws or efficient monitoring packages.

The UN company’s 2022 Sand and Sustainability report additionally referred to as for enhanced monitoring of sand extraction and use, and beneficial ending sand extraction from seashores and energetic beach-nearshore sand programs for mining functions.

It additionally calls for brand new worldwide requirements governing marine sand extraction.

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